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Current FAQ

Please note that the information below is outdated, and is kept solely for archival purposes. The more up-to-date FAQ document has been maintained by Darren Albers at his wiki:


FAQ Revised: Friday 07 December 2001 10:38:25

Table of Contents

1. General
2. Installation
3. Feedback
4. Tips
5. Troubleshooting

1. General

1.1. What is Pan?
Pan is a newsreader, loosely based on Agent and Gravity, which attempts to be pleasant to use for new and advanced users alike. It has all the typical features found in newsreaders, and also supports offline reading, multiple connections, and a number of features for power users and alt.binaries fans. See Pan's feature page for a the complete sales pitch.

1.2. Do I have to use Gnome to run Pan?
No. Pan's main author frequently goes back and forth between Gnome, KDE, and plain old Blackbox.


2. Installation

2.1. Where can I get Pan?
http://pan.rebelbase.com/ is the Pan home page. It will have the latest news and version of Pan.

2.2. What package should I use?
The recommended way is to see if your vendor already has an up-to-date package of Pan. If they don't, or if it doesn't work, you can try one of the RPMs on the rebelbase.com download page.

We typically make i386, i586, and i686 RPMs. These programs have been compiled for different processors and can take advantage of their inbuilt features, so pick the one that is the closest match to your processor.

Our homemade RPMs also come in two different flavors: standard (fewer library requirements) and the bells-and-whistles version "_images" (displays attached images inline, gives clickable URLs). When gtk2 is released, we'll have bells and whistles without all the dependencies. Until then, though, the requirements page lists what you need for the _images version and where to get it.

2.3. What's an RPM, deb, or tarball?
They are different ways of packaging software. .rpm files are used by Red Hat, Mandrake, and most other versions of Linux. .deb files are used by the Debian project. Tarballs are like zip files of the Pan source code. Red Hat has a site dedicated to RPMs, and Debian's User Tutorial has a section about deb files.

2.4. Pan disappeared from my KDE start menu after upgrading!
Use menudrake or menudrake to add it back again.

2.5. Pan can't find -ldb1 when compiling on Mandrake.
Try installing the Berkeley Database Developer Libraries RPMs from the Mandrake CD.

2.6. Pan can't find -lesd when compiling on SuSE 7.3.
Linking requires files with extension '.so' (i.e., without the version number). So, you need libesd.so. On RPM-based systems, you need to install the esound-devel RPM package.

2.7. CVS's autogen gives me errors.
First off understand that CVS is for bleeding-edge users and takes a little extra work. If you're still interested, make sure that you have autoconf, automake, libtool, libiconv, and gettext installed. Also, please remember to file bug reports -- CVS users are one of our earliest lines of defense against bugs.


3. Feedback

3.1. Where do I send feature requests?
Mail it to the pan-users mailing list, where other users can discuss your request. Features are typically discussed there for some consensus before being put into Pan.

3.2. I found a bug! What do I do?
New bugs should be reported at Gnome's bugzilla web site. Please read Pan's bug report page For advice on what to include in your report. Just saying "I ran Pan and it crashed" isn't very helpful. :)

3.3. How can I help?
We're always looking for more programmers. Gnome/gtk+ experience isn't necessary, but knowledge of C is. On the non-programming side, we also need documentation writers, translators, RPM builders, and graphic artists.


4. Tips

4.1. Can I just select an article without downloading its body?
Yes, this is frequently requested for the alt.binaries groups. Mouse button 2 will select an article without downloading the body. The mouse button ordering can be configured in the Preferences dialog to suit your tastes.

4.2. How do I choose my image viewer?
Pan uses the Gnome mime settings for this information. If you've got gnome installed, you can do this by selecting `Document Handlers->Default Editor->mime types' from the gnome control center (gnomecc).

4.3. Where do Articles go when I save them?
By default, they'll be stored in $HOME/News/Pan. You can change the default In the Preferences dialog, and you can change them for particular downloads in the "Save Article" dialog.

4.4. Where are Pan's configuration files?
Pan keeps its server, group, and article information in the `.pan' directory in your home directory. Other configuration settings are kept in the gnome-config setup, which is typically in `.gnome/Pan' in your home directory.

4.5. How can I use my fast net connection?
If you've got DSL, a cable modem, or some other fast connection, you may want to increase the number of simultaneous connections you can make to your news servers. This can be done in the Preference dialog's NNTP settings, which lets you increase the maximum total and per-server connections Pan will make.

4.6. How can I use my slow net connection?
Pan works well as an offline newsreader with no extra software needed. In your Preferences dialog, make sure the cache size is set large enough to store the bodies of the groups you're interested in, and then download the articles for reading later offline.

4.7. Can I change the menu key bindings?
Yes. Move your mouse over to the shift+ctrl+n menu button (or whatever menu button you're interested in) and press the key binding that you want to change this menu option to. The menu will automatically update itself. I'd like to take credit for this, but it's a Gtk+ feature.


5. Troubleshooting

5.1. Pan just Crashed! What do I do?
Please take time to file a bug report; we appreciate them and use them to improve Pan. See the Feedback section of this FAQ for details.

5.2. Writing a message is really slow, about 1 char per second.
This is reportedly a bug with your gtk theme. Try changing your theme.

5.3. Pan stops in the middle of downloading headers or articles.
This is most often caused by an overloaded news server or a bad net connection. Check your news server's stats page to see what its load is.

5.4. I can't connect to my news server!
This question gets asked most by people downloading multiple binaries at a time and exceed their bandwidth or news server limitations. If you have your maximum number of connections set high and are getting socket errors, try lowering the maximum number to go easier on the network.

5.5. Pan Has 8 Processes, Each Using 40 Meg! That's 320 Meg!
These are each threads sharing the same memory, so it's only 40 Meg, despite what top says.